Monday, February 15, 2010

Matter Eater Legends: Tenzil Kem Goes to Hell!

The last time we looked in on the forgotten adventures of Matter Eater Lad, Senator Tenzil (Matter-Eater Lad) Kem had successfully and zanily defended Brek (Polar Boy) Bannin from  trumped-up Earthgov charges and the two fled Earth before anyone could figure out how they'd been tricked:

Scene from LofSH #13

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) # 14 finds the two former Legionnaires and Calorie Queen in the Tartarus Sector, staying at the Ranchito Mobile Lodge, when two masked gunmen bearing the symbol of Evillo come to abduct them. If "Evillo" and "the Tartarus Sector" sound like bad news, then you may remember Evillo from Adventure Comics #350 and 351, where he led the Devil's Dozen (actually the devil's five, if you want to include Evillo himself) against the Legion of Super Heroes. When he became angry at Sugyn, one of his Dozen, he demonstrated his ability to send enemies to the Realm of Darkness:

Since this early defeat, Evillo has had a couple of teenage daughters who want to meet a real Legionnaire. Learning he has the famous Matter Eater Lad in his sector, Evillo knowingly risks U.P. sanctions to please his girls. The prince of Tartarus can't say no to his little girls. "Oh for the days when I could satisfy my daughters with an actor wearing a plastic duck head!"


Brek?!? Yes, the girls actually want to meet Polar Boy. This gives Tenzil time to wander around and look for trouble. He meets Saturn Queen in the garden, where he learns that she's just the latest of Evillo's many wives. All of whom end up meeting grisly fates. The Senator turns up the charm, and things look like they might get interesting, when suddenly, they hear a scream from Calorie Queen:

Well, as we saw earlier, it's never good when Evillo "gets horny". next thing he knows, our  pal Matter-Eater Lad is engulfed in brimstone and heat:



Tenzil then gets a tour of the Realm of Darkness, as jolly a place as you might expect from the colorful name:


But that's when he sees Erma, the gray haired crone coming off the stairs. Her face has been roasted off for defying the Shackles of Agony, and so he bides his time. His guide leads him on to his permanent work station, at the Bags of Eternity, a gigantic set of infernal bagpipes manned by rows and rows of the huffing, puffing damned. Tenzil is placed at his station, where he hears a familiar voice:

That's right, it's Sugyn, the Volstagg-esque windbag who Evillo banished so long ago! Er, in the future that is. Whoever designed the Shaclkles of Agony didn't figure on the mighty mastication of Matter-Eater Lad, who eats his way out and makes a desperate bid for freedom, with Sugyn in tow:


The clever gambit pays off as Kem and his husky companion are whisked back to reality and white page gutters:


While the dead rain down on Tartarus, Polar Boy decides to stay behind to train Evillo's daughters in the use of their inherited powers. Evillo tries to be menacing, but finds he has his hands full with the return of several undead wives. Tenzil finds that the government of Bismoll has used his brief death to declare his Senate seat vacant, replacing him with Calorie Queen. That's fine with Tenzil, who sets course to Winath join the rest of the Legion at the end of the story.

While Polar boy would leave the series for awhile, this issue led to Matter-Eater Lad returning to the Legion full-time. This issue was a riot, and was also drawn in its entirety by Keith Giffen, making it one of my favorite issues of this run.

1 comment:

Mego Thor said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again; "Five Years Later" is the bestest ever era of LSH. Long Live the Legion!

...yeah I say that all the time. So what!?